On our sketching trip to Sacramento we visited theEdgar Payne painting exhibit at the Crocker Museum. Above is my sketch of the beautiful old Ford he used to get to plein air painting sites. According to the brief video they showed he also frequently traveled by mule. I only had a few minutes to sketch the car so I painted it when I got home.
You can see the photo of the car and some of my favorite paintings from the show below. His compositions (he wrote the book Composition of Outdoor Painting) and his use of warm and cool colors to create a sense of light and depth are fantastic to see in person.
Our sketch group took a train trip to Sacramento and visited the California State Railroad Museum. The enormous building ( 225,000 square feet) contains many full-sized trains. This one called out to me so after looking around a bit, I sat against a pillar on the hard floor and started drawing.
I used pencil first to get the basic shapes down since it was so complicated. Then I switched to ink and the time flew by. A friendly docent started talking to me and I realized I only had a few minutes left before we had to leave for our train ride home, so I quickly added watercolor, which I touched up a bit when I got home.
The museum has a Pullman-style sleeping car, a dining car, and a Railway Post Office, all of which you can walk through, along with many life-size displays demonstrating railroad life in the early years of California. I especially liked the little telegraph office with the lady at her desk with a little dish holding egg shells and a salt shaker from her breakfast. She must have had to work long hours in her lonely outpost. Click here to take a 360 Virtual Tour of the museum (or go in person—it’s fantastic!)
We walked from the train museum to the train station for our ride back home. When we stopped at the Davis station I tried to draw it. But it must have been a “whistle stop.” I barely had time to sketch the tree and a bit of the lamp-post when we were rolling again.
Continuing on from yesterday’s post, we left the Crocker and walked a few blocks to Sacramento’s Old Town to meet up with Urban Sketcher Pete Scully who lives nearby in Davis. Then we all stopped to draw this beautiful bridge, which is actually painted with gold metallic paint, unlike the Golden Gate Bridge which is painted a red-orange, and is not gold at all.
Old Town is several square blocks of restored Gold-Rush era buildings with board walks instead of sidewalks, old trains, horse-drawn carriages, and a few people in costume like this woman (who, when I asked if I could sketch her, told me she was just waiting for her husband to come out of the restroom, and indeed left after 5 minutes). It’s very rustic, and while a bit touristy, is not nearly as bad as Fisherman’s Wharf or Pier 39 in San Francisco.
My last sketch of the day was the exterior of the Amtrak station in Sacramento. The building is very ornate and I would have liked to spend more time accurately capturing some of the details but my eyes were burning from some nearby idling diesel buses so had to go indoors.
There’s a Starbucks at the other end of this block-long building and I ran down there to get a latte for the ride home and then almost missed the train. On the trip back we shared our sketchbooks and relaxed; such a pleasure compared to driving. I want to plan some more train sketching trips soon!
Bay Area Urban Sketchers took a little field trip by train to Sacramento to see some art, connect with another Urban Sketcher and have some good sketching fun. We arrived early to sketch the Emeryville Amtrak station (above) and then it was “All On Board!”
Once we got underway I experimented with doing VERY quick watercolor sketches of the scenery as we traveled, with about 30 seconds to capture each lovely view flying by:
Once we arrived the weather was perfect so we walked the 6 blocks to the Crocker Art Museum to see the Wayne Thiebaud “Homecoming” retrospective show (ends November 28). One of the great things about the show was seeing that at almost 90, Thiebaud is still painting and innovating. The work in his show range from the 1960s to 2010.
We explored both the Crocker’s permanent collection and the Thiebaud show. I was a bit perplexed by the way the shows were curated. Works seemed to be hung randomly, in no particular order that I could discern. I would have really liked to see Thiebaud’s paintings arranged by date to see the progression of his work.
In the permanent galleries I had the sense that they had tried to just hang everything they had, regardless of quality, condition or style. There was something both amateurish and charmingly small-town about the museum and even the demeanor of the guards who were refreshingly friendly, enthusiastic and proud of the work they protect. The Crocker has paintings by many of my favorites from the Bay Area Figurative Movement of the 1970s and I enjoyed seeing those “old friends” again.
Next post tomorrow will be Part II of the trip…meeting up with Pete Scully for a sketching visit to Old Town Sacramento.